The Politics of The Dark Knight Rises
When watching The Dark Knight Rises, I was reminded of a review I once read of Kanye West’s 32 minute music video, Runaway. The review described it as ‘an arthouse movie made by someone who has never seen an arthouse movie.’ The Dark Knight Rises seems to me like a lengthy analysis of politics, made by someone who has never read a lengthy analysis of politics. It’s politics soup. There are strong references to anarchism, populism, capitalism, marxism, neo-conservativism and the list goes on, but they are all utilised in an exploitative, cynical, clueless way. So what you are left with is a nightmare vision of all of them.
The only political theory that seems to get Nolan’s blessing is the ‘great man theory’ - that the general population can’t make a difference (if anything, they are the problem) and that the one shiny hope for society is the small handful of (white, male, middle class/upper class) people at the top. The 99% just better pray that the 1%ers are trusty and virtuous (like Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon) rather than ruthless and power-hungry (like that shady business guy, those corrupt politicians, and them foreigners, the Al Ghuls). Apparently the fight for Western civilisation’s soul occurs between the Good and the Evil within the 1%. The rest of us are just cannon fodder.